Henry Darger: The Room Revealed continues with Methods and Manipulations

July 16, 2021

Henry Darger: The Room Revealed continues with Methods and Manipulations

Drawing of two young girls, one in pink and one in orange, looking over their shoulders to see a spider web on the left
Henry Darger (American, 1892–1973). Untitled (little girls looking over their shoulder), n.d. Ink, pencil, and watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 in. Collection of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Henry Darger Room Collection and Archive, gift of Kiyoko Lerner, 2000.579a. © 2021 Kiyoko Lerner / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

July 16, 2021—CHICAGO—Transitioning from the perspective of Darger as author to Darger as artist, the series Henry Darger: The Room Revealed continues with the exhibition Methods and Manipulations, opening at Intuit on Friday, July 23.

Henry Darger: The Room Revealed is a trilogy of exhibitions that explores the complexity of Darger and his work with audiences and scholars. Due to growing concern about the fragility of the objects on view, Intuit will temporarily de-install the Henry Darger Room for conservation assessment. Before and during the de-installation, Intuit is engaging with guests through interactive components and inviting their feedback, which will be used to inform the Room’s future re-installation.

The second exhibition in the trilogy, Methods and Manipulations—on view from July 23 to September 6, 2021—takes a close look at the visual culture with which Darger grew up and the source materials from which he drew inspiration and, in some cases, appropriated in his art. The exhibition explores how Darger used imagery from diverse sources—such as coloring book pages, newspaper and magazine articles, and paper dolls—and pairs select works by Darger with their source materials. The show highlights Darger’s process and techniques with a special focus on select themes: his interest in weather, use of collage, incorporation of the panorama format in his works and creation of comic book scrapbooks. Methods and Manipulations is curated by Intuit Chief Curator Alison Amick with guest curators Michael Bonesteel, Leisa Rundquist and Mary Trent.

Succeeding Methods and Manipulations, Intuit will conclude the series with Caring for a Chicago Legacy (September 17–October 31, 2021) and the temporary de-installation of the Henry Darger Room, which will take place in public view. Henry Darger: The Room Revealed is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art and supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Henry Darger (1892-1973)—arguably the most well-known outsider artist—is many art enthusiasts’ introduction to the genre. He is the subject of extensive scholarly investigation and popular culture interest, evident in pieces of music, theater and literature. For a time he lived in the Asylum for Feeble-Minded Children, formerly in Lincoln, Ill., after which he lived a mostly reclusive life in a one-room home studio in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Upon his death, an extensive body of his art and writings was discovered, including a 15,000-page novel. His work addresses themes of gender, religion, violence and adoption, among others. In 2000, his former landlady, Kiyoko Lerner, donated the remaining contents of his space to Intuit, installed as an ongoing exhibition in 2008, what is now known as the Henry Darger Room Collection.


Founded in 1991, Intuit is a premier museum of outsider and self-taught art, defined as work created by artists who faced marginalization, overcame personal odds to make their artwork, or who did not, or sometimes could not, follow a traditional path of art making, often using materials at hand to realize their artistic vision. By presenting a diversity of artistic voices, Intuit builds a bridge from art to audiences. The museum’s mission—to celebrate the power of outsider art—is grounded in the ethos that powerful art can be found in unexpected places and made by unexpected creators.

Intuit is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and by appointment on Tuesday and Wednesday. For more information, please visit Plan Your Visit.